Apple Intensifies Safari Web Tracking Rules for Advertisers

Ah Apple. Who hasn’t heard of this major tech company before? It started out from the simple MacBook. Now, they have brought us all the iconic mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, iWatch, and even the Apple Pen. Aside from their devices, they are also well-known for their amazing and strong security. This is probably because they have an Apple-exclusive OS known as iOS and even their own browser known as Safari. Recently, Apple took measures to further secure their clients’ personal information by telling advertisers to strictly follow Safari web tracking rules.

Updated on 28 March 2023

For Your Information

If you didn’t know already, most online advertisements function by tracking your online activity. That’s right, all the ads you see on your screen could potentially be tracking you even when you don’t click on it. This is because the advertisers want to find out what your usual online activity is so that they can send advertisements around your preferences.

This has actually resulted in multiple cases before surrounding personal data breaches. You just don’t know where your information will end up. So now, Apple, known for its tough security, is also taking it on themselves to keep their reputation by strengthening the Safari web tracking rules.

Apple’s Preventive Measures

Cupertino issued its warning to advertisers in a new policy for Safari. To summarize the long and wordy document, Apple is basically forbidding any kind of tracking if it happens behind the user’s back.

“If a party attempts to circumvent our tracking prevention methods, we may add additional restrictions without prior notice,” stated in the policy. “These restrictions may apply universally; to algorithmically classified targets; or to specific parties engaging in circumvention.”

The great thing about it is that it doesn’t give special treatment of excludes anyone from this policy. “We treat circumvention of shipping anti-tracking measures with the same seriousness as an exploitation of security vulnerabilities,”

Not Their First Rodeo

A couple of years back, Apple actually also started on tightening Safari web tracking rules. They did this by adding a privacy capability in Safari to prevent “cross-site” tracking. This is what I was talking about earlier on, this is what the advertiser uses to see what websites you’re visiting.

“WebKit will do its best to prevent all covert tracking, and all cross-site tracking (even when it’s not covert),” Apple’s new policy states. “If a particular tracking technique cannot be completely prevented without undue user harm, WebKit will limit the capability of using the technique. For example, limiting the time window for tracking.”

The policy also makes sure to prioritize the customer’s privacy over the preservation of current advertising practices. Even if it means fighting against website owners that seek to create personalized ads, measure user traffic, and detect fraud or bots.

But, they won’t be as strict to the point where it interferes with your browsing experience. They will only take action on the ones they deem to be crossing the line.

“However, we will try to limit unintended impact. We may alter tracking prevention methods to permit certain use cases, particularly when greater strictness would harm the user experience,” according to the company. “In other cases, we will design and implement new web technologies to re-enable these practices without reintroducing tracking capabilities.”

As Online Marketing Manager, I’ve built up knowledge and experience about everything digital. And I share them happily with you on this blog. I like to write about all the wonders and dangers of the Internet - including the protection of privacy. My motto: Don’t leave the door unlocked when leaving the house. And I believe the same applies online: Don’t leave your data in the clear when connected!

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